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WikiFoia: Invaluable Tool for Freedom of Information (FOIA) Requests

June 6th, 2007 by Halli

A brand new tool is available for those seeking information from government, from city to federal. WikiFoia is designed to start you on your quest for information with links to your state Freedom of Information laws and contacts and even templates for phrasing requests. Don’t miss the great quotes regarding open government, such as this gem from Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor:

A fundamental premise of American democratic theory is that government exists to serve the people. … Public records are one portal through which the people observe their government, ensuring its accountability, integrity, and equity while minimizing sovereign mischief and malfeasance.

And when you’re successful with your FOIA request, be sure to return to WikiFoia to add your own experience and tips. That’s the beauty of a “wiki” site, of course.

You’ll also want to check out the associated blog, State Sunshine and Open Records for fascinating articles and links. If you wish, subscribe to their feed. Your eyes will be opened (if they aren’t already) by the ways government tries to conceal its actions and associated facts.

For instance, the State Sunshine and Open Records blog cites a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report detailing the efforts of the student loan office employees, costing $409,000, to hide their expenditures on luxuries for board members.

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency lost a 19-month legal battle in February and was forced to release records showing that its board, composed mostly of state lawmakers, spent $860,000 on expenses such as facials, pedicures, culinary classes, fly fishing, expensive wine, falconry lessons and a $491 limo ride to shopping outlets.

Of course, Pennsylvania taxpayers will be hit twice, as they pick up the tab for the luxuries and the cost of trying to conceal that figure.

With few exceptions, government officials will conceal their actions if possible. Even where FOIA laws are strong, the request for the information must be made before it becomes public and citizen action can be taken.

Make your government more transparent – access and utilize WikiFoia, a new tool for achieving open government.

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Posted in Education, General, Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Pocatello Issues, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

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